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Dr. Isaac Zama – Amba Farmer’s Voice pt 1

Dr. Isaac Zama honors us with his wisdom and knowledge as he ushers in the second season of the podcast.

Dr. Isaac Zama founded Amba Farmer’s Voice and through that is how I found him. His program showcase no-to-low-cost method of natural farming tailored to the people of Ambazonia. In this conversation we spoke a lot about the different topics. We had a lot of fun sharing our enthusiasm, and for that reason it has been broken up into three parts!

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Thank you for listening to


Transcript (automated)

MO 0:02
All right, peace. I am Mason Olonade and this is Jigijigi Africulture Podcast. Here we believe building a healthy soil builds a healthy soul and we share strategies for how to do both. To do both, we asked two questions. How do you grow while you grow kale, collards, tomatoes, and melons? And why do you think the healthiest soils are black? Today, I’m very excited to have very proud to have Dr. Isaac Zama of Amba Farmer’s voice on the podcast, this will probably be a two part podcast, because he and I can talk until the next full moon about all these different especially low cost or no cost, ways to improve and build soil improve soil health, and improve human health. And so I want to say welcome Dr. Zama.

Dr. Isaac Zama 0:58
Thank you so much Mason it’s a wonderful pleasure to to be on your program and really appreciated. I’d like to use this opportunity to say hello to your listeners that we hope that through this program, they’ll be able to learn, able to share ideas how people can improve upon their nutrition, and health.

MO 1:26
I want us opportunity to say hello to your audience. And, and and and likewise. So the first question that we ask everybody is, when did you first realize you were supposed to have your hands in the soil?

Dr. Isaac Zama 1:44
Um, that is an interesting question. You know, I never realized that I had to have my hands in the soil. Because I was born in the soil. You know, I was born in Southern Cameroons. And when you are born, most of the people, especially if you’re born in the village, you grew up going to the farm, the first thing you know is you have a farm, you know, in your compound, or wherever you grew up. And so as early as you start walking, you have to go out, you know, by yourself, you know, to pluck berries, you know, there are all kinds of berries, all kinds of fruits. So you you know, you go out, you know, in the field, or in the backyard, to you know, to harvest whatever, whatever you want you want to harvest. And those of us who are born in the villages, you know, you you were born and most of the time you didn’t even have shoes, so you walk on the soil, and so the soil is just part of you. And so having your hand in the soil is just like breathing. It’s just natural. There’s not, it’s not something that you learn, it’s just something that you do. And so, that is how, you know, I got my my hands, you know, in soil.

MO 3:22
Well, you’re far you’re very far away from Southern Cameroons. You know, and I, I mean, had you because I, we’ve talked, we’ve established this brotherhood, I still would know super little about your life, right. And so in the process of you getting from Ambazonia, to Fairfax, you know, and discovering what you needed to be able to do for your people when I guess when did that sort of stuff click?

Dr. Isaac Zama 3:57
Well, growing up as a kid, I really wanted to be a professor at the University. And for those who may not know the history or the story behind Ambazonia or southern Cameroons. Southern Cameroons is or Cameroon, for, you know, to make it simple. Cameroon is a country that is composed of an English speaking part of the country which is called Southern Cameroons or Ambazonia and the French speaking part which is called La Republic du Cameroon. So, you know, in the 60s when African countries were gaining independence from from the colonial masters, England and France the UN because of pushing to liberate most of the countries decided that Southern Cameroons which was ruled, which was governed at the time by, by by Britain should join or should obtain their independence by joining with the independent French Cameroon. So, that is how these two countries came about, you know, this, these two countries became the Republic of Cameroon. But because the English speaking, were a minority within this Cameroon enterprise, they were, I would say mistreated, marginalized, as people buy the majority of French speaking Cameroonians, and this has been going on for the last, you know, 5060 years, the English speaking people became so disenchanted with the situation. And in 2016, they started agitating and wanting much more autonomy, or, you know, to be able to govern themselves. And they, the French government, you know, came down very hard on them with violence started killing people. And, you know, the southern cameras started defending themselves. And before you know, it, it the thing blew up into a whole Civil War. That is, the political history of my, my own personal history was growing up in this, you know, in this environment, of marginalization, you know, the French government didn’t want to develop our own part of the country. And so, they need, they never built any academic or academic infrastructure within our own part of the country. So those of us who grew up in the English speaking country had no opportunities, you know, for further education beyond high school. The, the, the, the universities that were established, were established in French by the country, and you had to speak French to be able to go to these universities. Can you imagine lesson that you finish high school, you’re, you’re all speaking, you know, you learned everything in English. And then you had to go to college, you have to go start in French, you have to go sit and listen to a professor speaking to in French language, which you know, nothing of. So, those were some of the frustrations that those of us who grew up in that country grew up in. And so, because of that, most of us are from a part of the country if found ways of, of, you know, going overseas, when when abroad. So, I happen to have had the good fortune of coming to the US. And by the time I came to the years, I already had a bachelor’s degree. I was a lawyer by training, as I said, my I wanted to be a university professor. But when I came to the US, I went to the University of Washington, School of Law in Seattle. And I did a master’s degree in environmental law. And after that, my, you know, finishing my master’s really opened my mind to what

to what I could contribute, you know, towards our people, thinking of beyond myself. Beyond my goal of becoming of teaching in a university, I started looking at where I came from, what my people were going through, what could I do to help them so that made me do a 360 degrees spin. And I went into agriculture. i for i decided to go to the land to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. You know, where I did my PhD in international development. Most of it was centered on the Road development and agriculture. So that is how I actually came into becoming an agriculturist, I’d say, having studied in University of Wisconsin Madison, so that was the, my journey of becoming a professional in, in agriculture. You know, having studied that, you know, I started thinking that we have, you know, this is me, I’ve studied all these wonderful developments in agriculture. How does that translate? Or how does that help my mother in the village who hasn’t gone to school, who doesn’t have the resources of putting in place all the things that have started in the United States? Right. So, that is how I started, you know, reading and reading and doing research about how the agricultural system in the United States developed, you know, from the, you know, in, you know, using the, you know, for using the various phases, because, you know, the agriculture we have today in 2021, or in 19. Oh, in 1998, when I went to graduate school, is not the same thing as it’s not the kind of agriculture that is practiced back at home by my mother, who is a hoe and a machete, you know, to, you know, to Kenya grass. So, I started doing research to see how, based on where our people in the village are, with what kind of technology that they have, what can they How can I use my knowledge, you know, to meet them where they are, and improve upon what they are doing, you know, for, you know, for agricultural production.

MO 12:22
The, I tried to say this quote earlier, before we before we started recording, but I, I pulled it up, because it is exactly what you said, like Dr. George Washington Carver said, and bulletin number six, how to build up one out soils, we think it is wise to state here with the chief aim was to keep every operation within reach to the poorest tenant farmer occupying the poorest possible soil. And so, it’s been a very interesting thing. When I worked with these high school boys in the Hood, and trying to tell them all the stuff that I know not to go into how I would learn this information, and not the going and how I would say it back to me, or talking about all of the different ramifications, all the different implications bla bla, bla, bla bla, about what it is, you know, I just say, I see you see this widget, all this white stuff on the woodchip is a, you know, mycelium and this helps us extract all the different nutrients out of the wood out of the soil. So do not mess with this too much. You know, because a lot of I think that a lot of our people get caught up with I think a lot of the anti science and anti intellectual stuff that pervades, especially within the you know, the African American community is because it is insulting to be spoken to well beyond where you are, right. And I think a lot of people have a lot of good intentions, you know, especially me in the past by saying, Oh, no, I want to appeal to the EU that I know exists, that you know, look once to strive further and further and stuff like that, but um, sometimes that striving further and further is just having a reliable meal. Right? And so me talking about all this different theory is nonsense and is way far away from and I might, and I’m not and I’m ignoring that person and their reality. And so, I’m sort of due to be relate to relate to what to what you’re saying. Thinking about what you’ve learned, especially at the PhD level, and bringing that all the way you know, in focusing that information right To be able to communicate it across continents, you know, is it is a no, no, I mean, and you’re doing it, you know, I that’s how I found you. Because you’re doing this work. And you know, you’re about to, you know, I pulled it up earlier today with the, the the solar dehydrator and a solar dryer and everything that you’re given, you’re showing the people how to make in, in southern Nigeria, and everything like that, I mean, this is exactly the kind of work that needs to be done. And, and, and it’s very exciting to know you, and you’re doing it and to be able to give you a space to be able to share more information about it. It makes me proud to be able to, to be able to have you on the show and talking about it. And, and it’s because like, you know, some people may know about the United States and the victory gardens and stuff like that, that we had during World War Two. Um, but that was not anywhere near what is going on back in Ambazonia. Right. Like it’s because it is a fight for independence, but on the individual level is a fight for survival, right? Like, like you were talking about. Now, I don’t I’m not all that familiar with the geopolitical situations. I don’t know what it means. But like you were saying in this post on the 13th, that you’re saying, Oh, I guess it’s the French government is burning down food and homes in these various places. And so this is also farming as resistance like wood. This is not going to stop us anyway. You know, and you can’t have intensely technical solutions

in war, because the infrastructure is not there for it. You can’t have all these plastic disposable items in all in all this different stuff. You need stuff that is going to that we can implement tomorrow that will feed us the day after that. Correct. So as it relates to that, what all do you have growing on this year?

Dr. Isaac Zama 17:21
Oh, that’s interesting. This summer, actually. I decided to grow Coco yam leaves. You know, collouquially is called here a Malanga at the you know, the the, the Hispanic stores, you know, they call it a Malanga. But back home, we call it Coco Yam. And you know, it’s it’s like a fruit, but it’s a tuber that grows on the ground. And back home, we eat the leaves, the leaves are extremely nutritious, the leaves are eaten in different forms. Once the cocoa yam grows, it produces big green leaves. And those leaves can be harvested and dehydrated. And then it could be ground and eaten in and made into sauce. Or you can use the leaves to roll another kind of dish that is called ekwang which is a grated cocoyam. And there’s another dish that is called Kwacocoo bible made out of his cocoyam, but in the US, cocoyam is, is pretty much available in stores, so you can actually go to any ethnic store and your buy, but you will not have the leaves here. So, to me, I thought that because we don’t have the cocoa yam leaves, that is what I should grow, you know, growing something that I cannot find easily in the store. So that is what that’s one of the main things that I grew, you know, this this summer, and because I don’t have enough space, what I did was that I went to, you know, had a friend who took me to a beekeeper who was kind enough to give me some five gallon plastic buckets. And, you know, I went to our community garden and picked up some really good compost from there I put them in this bucket, I had six of these buckets and I put in the soil and I was able to you know, I went to a store and bought the cocoa yam seedlings or seeds and came and planted them. And before you knew it in two or three months, the whole area was you know, inundated with coca yam leaves. very fresh green you know, if you go to Amba farmers Voice Facebook page that is our that is the back yes, the image Yeah, yes, that’s the image that those are cocoyam leaves that I grew in my backyard. And so you know, able to harvest harvested, you know, towards the fall, we use some in making ekwang. We harvested some boycotted and, and, and blended it, and then you know, put them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer. So, if we want to do cocoyam stew, we’ll just get get it. And then you know mix stew with tomatoes and onions and, and fish or chicken or whatever. So that is what I grew up in the summer. I also tried my hand at growing ginger. Hmm. Okay, yeah. So, you know, I went to, you know, to the grocery store, just bought ginger and came and, and I put it in, you know, an A plastic sachets or, you know, in this large bag, this launcher, you know, such pets, and, you know, put it in it and put it outside. So the heat from the sun made, you know, stimulated it, it started, you know, producing shoots faster.

So, you know, I then took it out and implanted it, you know, it grew, you know, it grew. And, you know, that was just a way of me testing to see what I was getting for any group very well, even though it didn’t produce a lot of ginger, but I was able to have a little bit of ginger. And the reason being that the timeframe was too short. That is something which I don’t, you know, after research how long it takes to grow ginger from, from the seed on to harvesting, but that just told me that, you know, you could actually grow ginger here successfully, you know, the summer, I think the the folks in, in California or in Nevada or in Colorado, I mean, you know, in the West that is a little bit tropical. I would grow ginger very well. Yeah. So, um, you know, those were, you know, I also grew Huckleberry, which we call Njama-Njama, it’s, it’s a green vegetable that is very, very nutritious. And so, you know, I was able to grow that and have it be added, you know, you know, a number of times, once you have once you’ve grown, it starts growing, you harvest after maybe one or two weeks, it’s ready to harvest again. So we harvested that several times during the summer. And, and, you know, either at all, you know, we were, you know, freezing, you know, to, you know, to eat during the winter

MO 23:48
because I didn’t know, Huckleberry– cocoyam is also elephant ears. That’s how the majority of people here know it. Okay.

Dr. Isaac Zama 23:59
Elephant Ears.

MO 24:00
That’s the name. Yeah, that’s a sort of colloquial name. Okay. The people’s name. Elephant ears. And, and then in, especially in Asian communities is known as Taro. Yes. Tarot. Yes. So I didn’t know that. The that’s what this was. And especially down here in the further south that you get, even at the University of Maryland on campus. Coca Yam is used as an ornamental plant and so and especially down here in Charlotte, because it gets really humid and it’s, it’s warmer for a longer period of time. I mean, some of these leaves they’ll be you know, twice as wide as I am and knowing now that all that stuff is edible. You know, it definitely has me curious. I we because we just moved into this house. I’m definitely looking for some things to plant and I’ve seen a lot of my Neighbors grow that because deer will not eat cocoa yam. So I, I can, I will look for some of those tubers in the, in the, in the spring, and I’ll plant some of those. And then I’ll have to get the recipes from you for how to cook.

Dr. Isaac Zama 25:17
Yeah, you know, if I may just add that, you know, to get a good harvest, I would suggest that you begin early in March, you know, you go to store and just buy those cocoa yams, you know, in the plastic sachets when you come back, you know, from a store, just living in Back to Search, just just tied mouth, and then just live it, maybe after one or two weeks, you’ll see it start shooting, once you start shooting, and the weather’s warm enough, you know, just plant it so that you will have a longer life, it will start producing faster, and then you’ll be able to have a lot of it before, you know the winter comes. Because it will die in the you know, in a winter. So I didn’t start it very, very early, but this year, I plan to start it, you know, in March, I’ll just go buy the aquarium and you know, leave it in the plastic sachets, you know in the store sachets, and you know it’s tight so that, you know the heat in the kitchen, you know would make it you know what speed up the, you know, the route shooting out. And then once the roof shoots, you just once the weather starts getting warm, just put it in the you know, you know the soil and whoo.

MO 26:40
You know, it’s interesting, because that exact process is exactly what I’ve done for ginger in the past. And well, let me be more honest, when I grew ginger at the very first time I had it in our pantry when I was living with a bunch of roommates in DC. And I completely forgot about it. And then when I was looking through the I think was looking through the pantry and then I saw this thing I was like, oh my god, what is that, and then I realized that it was the ginger because there were all these roots, all these shoots all over the place. And so I broke them up and then planted them and I got a pretty good, pretty good harvest out of it. But that’s because like you said, I started in March and then harvested it in November. And so this year, one of the things that we’re planning on doing because right now we have carrots in the ground. Um, you know, and they can go all winter, it’s when we dig up those carrots, we’re going to put ginger in the, in the beds where the carrots are, and that way it’ll you know, the soil already be loose for them to be able to expand, you know, all those root crops definitely need the finest soil. So that so that they can expand and less, except for sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, I, we had that stuff growing in our soil, that’s just, you know, almost pure clay. And they just, you know, they just pushed everything out the way or absorbed everything into it. You know what I think both were going on. But um, because we pulled out some we pulled out some sweet potatoes that were the size of you know, that were, you know, my whole forearm and hand but as wide as my thigh. You know, it was like, What are we going to do with this?

Nobody’s going to buy this child sized Yam.

But, um, but you know, like you said, you know, we get to chop that stuff up, put in the dehydrator, you know what I mean? And yes, maybe some tips or something from it.

Dr. Isaac Zama 28:49
Yeah, please. If I may, um, when we’re growing up, you know, this, this just this just came to my mind when we’re growing up. There is, you know, we used to eat potatoes, you know, to dehydrate it. And we used to call it biscuits. So, what, what what our mothers will do is they’ll get sweet potato, the toilet, and then you know, they take out the peelings, they slice it into, into into, into slices and then they’ll dry it and the sun and it when it dries up it you know, it becomes like, you know, we call them biscuits. And what they used to do is when kids are going to secondary school, you know, your mom would give you this dried sweet potatoes, you know you put it in your in your trunk or you take them to you know to school, for those who are living in the dormitory. And you know, during a break or whatever You take a piece or two, and you chew it, and then you drink water. That is that is your snack. So, you know, that just we talked about sweet potato that just reminded me. So how can we make the same snack over here? With the sweet potatoes? Or you’re growing? Because, you know, you were you were saying that when if people saw it was said, but now what kind of sweet potato is that? You know, you can use that, yeah. You know, you can either dry it raw, you know, using a simple solar dryer, hopefully we’ll talk about the solar dryer, or even even try the system that was that we grew up trying, you know, drying, you know, boil it, and then, and then you slice it, and then you dry in a solar dryer. You know, the difference is that the sweet potatoes here is a little bit soft, is much softer than what we have on the continent. So, you know, to boil it, so that it’s not very soft, you have to avoid using, you know, you make sure you don’t put into water, there’s something there’s something that, you know, having a kitchen, I don’t forget what it’s called, but you know, you put it in a pot, and then you know, you put something on it, and then what is on there is steaming. Yeah, the steamer. Right. So you know, if you boil it on a steamer so that water doesn’t touch it, and then you know, you monitor it so that it doesn’t stay on the on the store for too long. That way. It’s, it’s, it doesn’t become too soft. You can you know, take it out and you know, peel it, slice it, and then you dried in the, you know, in the solar dryer. So that is something which I think you should try you know, in the summer and see what comes out of it.

MO 31:58
Yeah, um, yeah, that’s a very interesting thing. I mean, because especially, especially, my wife and I are really trying to be able to get to make healthier snacks. And, and it really doesn’t take any effort at all to grow sweet potatoes. They, I mean, because they’ll grow on your kitchen countertop, you know? Um, but, um, but, uh, yeah, when you were saying that about about the making the biscuits, I was like, huh, because sweet potatoes definitely do get mushy. But, um, I think I think that dehydrating them in that way could work. could work? Well, I mean, I mean, just like just making, you know, everybody makes chips and fries and stuff out of them. But, um, but I’ll have to try steaming them. But like I said, I also have to figure out what kind of pot I can get it. Because these some of those, I mean, we left we forgot about them, you know what I mean? Because, Oh, we didn’t forget about them. We were like, we planted them. When did we plant them? I think we planted them in June. And it was our first time growing them. And when we pulled them up in October, I think we just left some of them too long, we needed to do a more progressive harvest so that they don’t get that big. And or plant them a little bit later so that we can because a lot of people want them for Thanksgiving and Christmas and stuff like that, as opposed to when we had them in the early part of October. So we just need to delay that a little bit longer probably plant those when we’re done with corn, or when the corn is more established. But anyway, um, yeah, I mean, well, why don’t we take this time then to talk about the different because you are, although you have been growing, the thing that you are primarily focused on growing is people’s proficiency in these different techniques. And one of these techniques that you’ve talked about is the solar dehydrator the solar dryer, so please,

you know, share with us all your thoughts on the solar dryer.

Dr. Isaac Zama 34:27
Okay, um, the solar dryer that I’m talking about. It’s a it’s what is what they call in development, lingo. Appropriate Technology. Right? Yeah. So it’s technology that I wouldn’t say poor people, but I would say that farmers themselves can build wherever they are, wherever village they are in a continent or even here Nik is very, very simple. And all you need is just plastic paper, and wood. You know, depending on what design you’re, you’re you want or what size you want, you know, you can, you can build a solar dryer that you can put, you know, out, you know, out in your, in your yard, or your backyard, and you’ll be able to design, I mean to dry, essentially, anything, any food that you want to preserve, the technology is so revolutionary, that, you know, there are lots of people back home or back on the continent who, during harvesting season, let’s say let’s take mango season, the mangoes would be so much because everybody has it, it just rots. But if then if they could have a solar dryer, they would, you know, get this mangoes or pineapples or, or pears or what have you, and, and dry them. And in that process, you prolong the shelf life of this of this food, it adds more value, you know to it, you can sell it at a much higher value than, you know trying to sell it fresh. So it’s you know, it’s a technique, which I’m sure you’re you know that there is that designs that have been done here that scientists or universities have done. But I hope you you’re able to put that on your website so that people can see it, and try it, you know, you don’t to build yours. In the US, it should cause you know, under, you know, depending on the sides $100 or $200 or the max. And it’s very efficient, very, very efficient. You know, you can use it to dry your sweet potatoes, as you said, you can even you know dry a lot of tomatoes, you talked about a friend of yours who was you know, who build a smoker, the smoke for tomatoes, I don’t know what, what we’re using, whether we’re using wood, or they were using electricity to you know, to dry these tomatoes, but a solar dryer, you know, just use this sun. And in the summer, we have enough sun sunshine here in the US that you can actually dry enough fruits or vegetables, you know, for your family. You know, for those who may be interested in starting a small business, but it’s something which the people continent for using this solar dryers, you know, to dry mangoes and pineapples and on pears and things like that, that they’re actually selling. So the solar dryer is a very well revolutionary technology, which is very simple. And it can really prevent hunger. You know, it can prevent hunger, particularly in the continent where you have two seasons, you have the dry season, or you have the rainy season. In the rainy season, that’s where you have all the food, all the fresh fruits, it’s so much that most of it rots. While the dry season, when there’s no rain, there’s a lot of hunger, you know, you don’t have any fresh foods. So if you even use a solar dryer in the rainy season to preserve all the fresh foods that you grow fat in the summer, you’ll be able to prevent hunger or you’ll be able to sell and you know, things like that. So the solar dryer is something which it’s a very simple, proper technology that I think your your your your listeners or your viewers should consider you know trying it and why not let’s do it as a

challenge competition wherever you know whoever does it anyway, we can share ideas and see what comes out of it.

MO 39:35
Right. Yeah, so I you would you would reference it before we started talking. And so I pulled up the chimney solar dryer from UC Davis. And yeah, this is a very simple, very simple device. And I can absolutely see how it can operate very quickly. I think in the past I’ve definitely made I’ve confused myself with making solar ovens and solar dryers the same thing. They’re very different things, obviously. But yeah, something like this as it relates to preserving anything would work. I mean, anything that we grow on the farm can be put in here. And yeah, then then this with, you know, a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder for some of these things, depending on how dry you can you get something I imagine that you just leave it out, or can leave the trays out, or, you know, store the trays inside and then bring put them back in there, right there to really bring something all the way like bone dry so that it can can be yes. You know, and then making, you know, dehydrating tomatoes all the way dehydrating. I mean, because Paprika is just ground up peppers, right. And so it’s it’s, uh, you know, making something like a, you know, the base for tomato soup is just Tomato, tomato sauce, I mean tomatoes that are just ground up, and then with a bunch of different seasonings, and there you go. Yep. And the same thing for making um, because one thing that we do have a lot of that goes bad very quickly, our greens, yes, kale, collards, all the all of the leaves from cabbage, all of the leaves from broccoli, yeah, cauliflower, those are all still collard greens, you know, and all of those things could be ground up or dried, and then ground up and made into, you know, a green powder. For for nutrition, or even before that just ground up or just dried to make chips. Yes, it’s like how they have seaweed or, or, you know, I’ve made kale chips in the oven before. But, uh, you know, drying these things up, like that could be a really great way to improve the nutritional content in a really easy way. Because like you said, when you’re producing like that, once you once you have these things dialed in, for some things, is too much food to eat, you know, and now you have this weird problem on your hands, where, especially maybe even if you’re growing in your backyard or something, you’re going so much your neighbors don’t even want to eat it. And, and that sort of thing with this solar solar dryer, it’s way less cost than it would be to can something. And way less tricky. Because canning canning can get really bad if you do it wrong. And something like this, with this chimney dryer, where it just heats. I mean, everything is done passively after you build it. And it’s not something offensive looking either. So it could be just set up in a backyard, even in even in an urban space. So I will yeah, like I said, I’ll definitely include that with the, with the show notes and everything like that. So, no, you go,

Dr. Isaac Zama 43:32
yeah, I was gonna suggest that, um, you know, for those of us who live in a city, we can you know, a couple of people who are growing, who have a quarter acre and they’re growing this so much food, that you know, they come together and build a single solar dry and share it. Right, so today is your own day tomorrow. It’s mine the next day, this person’s solar drone, I mean, they so that, you know, we we use the solar dryer, you know, as a community that could also serve as a, you know, a way of bringing a community together. You know, you know, to share resources. That way, you don’t have to spend 200 bucks to you know, to build one I spent 200 bucks to go, we can build one and unshare it. You know, we all learn together things like that.

MO 44:23
And especially in the in the DMV, DC, Maryland and Virginia. And in some other states. We don’t have it down here in Charlotte or in Carolina, in in the Carolinas but up north they have cottage kitchen laws. And something like this could work extremely well for anybody in a cottage kitchen situation. Because you can grow the stuff in your backyard, be hydrated in your backyard, and then take it to the market and sell it And especially, you know, like what I wanted, what I want for people as it is within that talk that I gave it routing DC. You know what, and it’s been proven meaning down here in Charlotte when we’ve been growing, you can’t get fresher greens or any fresh produce that we produce, you cannot get it as close to downtown anywhere closer to downtown than where we are, right? Because we can see the skyline from where we are, right. And so I know that people are talking about local food, but sometimes, you know, local food might be like you, you, you’re going to go get local honey, right from from giant, or Safeway. But the honey that you’re getting in Fairfax comes all the way from the Shenandoah Valley, you know what I mean? That’s really far away, yes, um, you know, uh, but like what we’re doing, I mean, we’re doing

ultra local, you know, it’s like, this is your same zip code,

or one or two zip codes away, you know, within, within, you know, within 15 minutes of you, that kind of food, and especially when we, you know, when you grow stuff that also has medicinal properties, like, like ginger or something like that, or even, like I said, with all the rest of these greens and stuff like that, developing the nutrient or the, the medicinal qualities of these things, I mean, you can, you can charge a premium for those for those things. And so, what I wanted to say was proving the hyper local model as as it being able to put a premium on your produce, but then also being able to do a urban cooperative situation, because like you said, if we have a solar this chimney solar dryer, then somebody who is supplying us with onions, can also use that, say, if we’re making something like, like a hot sauce, or whatever, but now, it’s a weird area in time, now, we can sort of all team up to use this solar dryer, and, you know, now you can have this onion powder, or these dried onions for seasoning, or whatever, you know, this is a I think, and I’m really glad that you brought this to my attention, because I’ll probably spend on another podcast episode talking about all of the different ideas that I had have for this because, yeah, I mean, just in looking at it, it is an extremely simple device to make that it. I mean, I’m sure that they have, they probably have plans within the manual somewhere for it. And so, I mean, you could take those plans and take them to Home Depot and have them cut up all the wood for you. And then just, you know, take you know, just hammer it all together, right in your backyard or whatever. Um, and and even somebody who is even more industrious if they wanted to, could sell that, it, you know, sell the sell the service of constructing it, or sell the sell the manufacturing of it, you know, what I mean? There’s so many different opportunities for something like this, um, and even and even like you were saying, as it relates to international development, having this as something that you can do to go somewhere else, and build up somebody else’s soils with something like this can be extremely revolutionary for the people because like you said, My, like my aunt uncle live in Puerto Rico. When we went to Puerto Rico. My dad was kind of astounded because it was similar to stuff that he’d seen in Sierra Leone, when he went and Peace Corps in the 70s people have mango trees, cashew trees, or whatever kind of trees, and the fruit is just on the sidewalk, because nobody’s there to eat it because it’s just too much too much food. And so, you know, and on Puerto Rico, they had like horses, but they the horses would just eat stuff. But it’s still like, man, like, how are people not utilizing? And it’s because they don’t have technology, the appropriate technology for able to derive profit from their surplus? Yeah, um, so yeah, there’s the the solar dryer is is awesome. And most importantly, your people are finding success? Yes.

Dr. Isaac Zama 49:40
Yeah, actually, yeah, people are finding success. You know, young, young people are becoming, you know, entrepreneurs, you know, using this appropriate technology to start businesses that are actually flourishing. You know, the one of the I’ll tell you this, one of the major challenges that we have on a continent, with our educational system is that our educational system is not designed to solve our own problems. You know, the educational system is designed, or was designed at a time to, to train bureaucrats who would work for the government. And because people, because the educational system is not designed to solve problems, you know, once you go to school, you don’t use that knowledge, you know, to see how you can improve your environment. That is why, you know, this solar technology or the solar dryer has not permitted the whole society, you know, agricultural technicians, what I would say that they would favor, you know, importing a $20 million dryer that uses electricity, you know, to come dry fruits, where, you know, there are no roads to transport, you know, the food from the rural areas to where you have the $20 million dryer, or oven. And, you know, the electricity is so spotty, that if you invested that amount of money, five times out of 10, you don’t have electricity, and so your investment becomes useless. That’s why you have lots of this white elephant investments in many African countries, because the technology, our education, has made us such that we have to have everything coming from abroad, which are not really suited for our own environment. But, you know, a technology like this solar dryer, is technology that every single neighborhood, in every village should have. Because, you know, you have very experienced carpenters, who can build these things, if just, they just knew how to do it. And, you know, farmers can afford these things, you know, if you cannot, if you cannot buy it up upfront, you know, it just, you know, the the people or the entrepreneurs or whoever, who can come up with, with it with, with a model, where, you know, you can provide these things to these farmers, and they pay over time, and then they own it. And, you know, over time, they will make up, you know, the money that they used in buying this. So these are very, very simple things, which if we think about it really well, it could solve problems, even here in the US, you know, I know of farmers who are down south who are bedevil with all these huge loans, because, you know, you have to buy the top of the line equipment, in order to be able to produce and stay competitive, when, you know, you have simple things like this, where if, you know, you’re growing your squash, or you’re growing lots of fresh vegetables, I mean, fresh spices, you know, the people who grow tons of spices, just, you know, harvest these things, put them in a solar dryer, grab them while you’re in business, right. But because especially in the continent, because we’ve been conditioned through our educational system to think that, you know, you have to

import a $20 million spice drying rack or drying machine, you know, to be able to dry these things, that’s why you don’t have these things, you know, in all the villages in, you know, wherever, you know, on the continent. So, you know, I’m really, really happy that we’re having this discussion, and that you have a means of, of, of educating our people that there are simple things that could be done here in the US that would not cost you an arm and a leg in terms of dollars or in terms of man hours, you know, to be to you know, to be able to play douce and make, you know a decent income

MO 55:09
preeminent psychologist Dr. Amos Wilson always talked about how educate the purpose of education is to be able to develop the brain to solve the problems for your people. Right. And, and because otherwise you’re solving somebody else’s problems. And like you were saying, you know, that the the particular education, the Cologne, I mean, it’s still a colonial education system, right? I mean, we have a similar education system here as it relates to how can you train factory workers, that’s basically the education system in the United States, right. But that does have an inherent problem solving ability, because you do have to figure out how to do something. But as it relates to what you’re talking about in the creation of this white elephant technology, you want to solve problems that are going to get you recognition, as opposed to solving problems that are actually going to do something. And, and obviously, it doesn’t work. Like you were, you know, everybody listens to podcasts. No, I’m all the way on it on black soldier flies and stuff like that. And one of the things that I’ve seen people do is read these black soldier flies and those complicated apparatuses that we’ve talked about. But then also, there is one company that I was reading about that the guy who founded it sold it, which is a testament to its use, um, he sold it, what he was doing was rearing black soldier flies, drying them, and then making cakes out of them for feed for fish, especially within an aqua culture on aquaponics capacity. Right. And I’m, and this operation was so fine tuned that he was able to sell the business, which is a lot of aspects of business that our people aren’t really aware of about creating a machine that can operate autonomously, that you can then sell for eight, you know, well beyond what you were selling each individual product or the aggregate of products for. And so, while you were talking about education, I was thinking about this as it relates to even having a separate a separate dryer for, for these black soldier flies that are coming out, you know, and then taking those pupil, dehydrating them, and then being able to sell those to people who as pet food, you know, to all of these different people who, you know, maybe you know, somebody who is raising chickens, who doesn’t have who doesn’t want to do this, somebody who has a reptile, somebody who has fish, you know, because those you know, I mean, it seems in my experience, that it is, I mean, I know that it will change at some point, but it seems to be a linear progression, if one bucket will make 2000 flies another bucket a further a little bit further away will also make 2000 flies, collecting those larva, dehydrating them in this way. I mean, you know, just just from our waist, that is a thing that, you know, is is really awesome. And even, I mean, it like you said there’s so many different ways to utilize just just this as an appropriate technology. Because even thinking about even drying different things like drying compost and stuff like that for the different aggregate the nutrients that are there within it, that you know, because that will make it so much easier to transport. You know, I mean, they Oh my gosh, you know,

Dr. Isaac Zama 59:16
you just reminded me of something you know, for people who have who want to keep chicken for example, yeah, you can go to

you know, you can go to a bar that brews beer and pick up the spent grain and come back and you know, I was just saying that for you know, for people who want to keep checking,

MO 59:50
right? No, I heard you I was just chatting on a heater.

Dr. Isaac Zama 59:53
Yeah. So you know, you can go to one of these Mom and Pop places Is that brew beer and pick up the spent great, you know, for free, right? You, you come back you dried in your solo dryer, and then you use this membrane to feed your chicken, you know, in the, you know, in the winter, so it cuts down on your cost of, you know, feeding your chicken. So, you know, the potential of this solar dryer is limb is, is limited just to our imagination. You know, there are people who are growing, who are raising mealworms

MO 1:00:41

Dr. Isaac Zama 1:00:43
I don’t know if you know about this, but I’m going to tell you about one of the sisters in Atlanta who has won the grabs, she grows mealworms and she uses it in making cookies, new worms, something like like worms, but you know, they’re, you know, some, you know, people can Google it and find what new ones are. And, you know, she grows mealworms. And she feeds them with all kinds of grain. So, if you’re a meal, one grower, you know, you can go to, to this. People who brew beer, and you know, pick up the spinning grain and dry it, and you use it to feed your mealworms or you use it to feed your children, or you use it to feed your pigs. So you can try it, you know, as a method of preserving it. So that, you know, you can use it in, you know, in the winter, in the winter in the winter, when you know that you don’t have enough sunlight in order to continue the drying process. So the solar dryer is a it’s a revolutionary technology, which, you know, people can use for, you know, for themselves. For me personally, what I’m really interested in is self sufficiency. You know, doing it as a business, you know, needs careful thinking and careful planning, but if we just focus on making sure that, you know, people have that nobody goes hungry people have enough to eat, then those who want to, you know, go go to the next step or the next level, doing as a business, you know, there are always ways of doing that at a very, very affordable and affordable way of you know, getting to, you know, use it using this technology to you know, to do business.

MO 1:02:51
Yeah, I mean, you have to have surplus in order to be able to enter into to selling it. And so absolutely, I, I assume that you when you’re talking about wonder grubs, you’re talking about this sister Akissi Stokes?

Dr. Isaac Zama 1:03:07
Yes. Yeah. Akissi Stokes.

MO 1:03:09
Yeah. Um, yeah. The, the, the, the, I mean, Booker T. Washington said a long time ago, you know, uh, you know, you got to start from where you are exactly where you are. And, yeah, you know, the business in, in the business aspects of it. I’m talking to, I guess, the people, you know, to people stateside, you know what I mean? Because much of those things are largely figured out, but I mean, I know, like you said, a lot of people burdened with loans. Um, uh, in this, I was just listening to this episode. I have to, I’ll put it in the show notes. But it was from the podcast. It was very inspirational to me the regenerative agriculture podcast with John Kempf, um, he was interviewing this one farmer. And he was talking about how I think it was Rick Clark. Or, or Adam Chapelle. I don’t remember one of the two but they were talking about how they’ve been seeing increased profitability on their farms as they continue to farm less and less land. And one of the things that they were doing in that is utilizing cover crops to keep their land covered all the time. One of the things that they talked about, I think it was I don’t remember which guy it was, but he was talking about being able to flip cows like how people flip homes right, meaning he went to the to the dairy auction and bought the worst looking cows that he could find that were Like $200 ahead. And those cows, even the people who were selling him, the cows were saying they might not survive getting back to the farm. So you bought 42 of these cows at $200 ahead, and two of them died on the way to back to his farm. Right. So 40 Cows now, he let them loose on his pasture that was cover crop and didn’t see them for like three days, he had to buy a drone to find these these on his land. But then, and He fed them just the cover crops that have already been growing. And then he was able in March, he bought them in November, and now it’s March, he sold them for $900 ahead. Also just cover crops, right. And so meaning that those cows must have been so healthy, right, just off of basically eating stuff that you just just storing out there. And so when you’re talking about self sufficiency, right, because I know that I know that, um, you you had some posts, for people who are doing like, you had a video about small ruminants, right, like an ant on like, like goats and stuff like that. But even people growing pigs, you know, that being able to develop the soil enough to grow the food that you can’t even eat, right, um, but the stuff that they love to eat, or the stuff that you know that you all the different ways and stuff like that, to be able to grow a pig that can become so healthy, right, that it has this higher value attached to it is this stuff that we need to be doing on an individual level, to feed us to sustain us to be able to go and then get into the very tough world and ambitious world of business?

Dr. Isaac Zama 1:07:00
Yeah, correct. Alright.